Last year we presented the worst CEOs of 2011 according to Professor at the Tuck School of Business, Sydney Finkelstein. Expert in identifying the characteristics that can turn the best CEOs into the worst almost overnight, he is the author of books such as Why Smart Executives Fail and Think Again: Why Good Leaders Make Bad Decisions, where he gave his verdict on the worst CEOs of 2012. Can you guess who made the list?
Who were on the verge of forming part of the list, but were saved at the last minute (winning “dishonorable mention”)? Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook and Andrew Mason, CEO of Groupon. According to Finkelstein, the two Internet entrepreneurs saw capital sharply decrease as their companies went public, lowering the pre-conceived worth of both significantly. He accused Zuckerberg of creating a “dictatorship” out of Facebook, “keeping control of the company in his hands despite owning just a small percentage of the company via the joys of dual stock structure.” In the following, discover the list of the worst CEOs of 2012 published by BusinessWeek.
1. Brian Dunn, who resigned as CEO of Best Buy in April of 2012 after being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a much younger subordinate. However, the main reason he made the list is for the fall in stock prices of the company and their loss of market share to competitors.
2. Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy CHK who not only has problems keeping his company’s finances together, but also his own. According to Reuters, McClendon asked for $1.1 million over the past three years in undisclosed loans. Using the company jet for personal purposes, Finkelstein recognizes an “obvious conflict of interest.”
3. Andrea Jung, who stepped down as CEO of Avon in April of 2012, but remained as president of the company until the end of the year. Jung hasn’t been able to solve the operational problems of the beauty-care company, failed to groom a successor, and turned down a bid from Coty that she should have jumped at.
4. Mark Pincus, CEO of Zynga. The mobile gaming company that created Farmville had a 75% fall in stock this year. Finkelstein acknowledged that his errors included tying the company too much to Facebook, which Zynga relies on for a big chunk of revenue.
5. Rodrigo Rato, who resigned as chairman of the Spanish lender Bankia in July of 2012. The former managing director of the IMF, Rato is being investigated for fraud, price-fixing and embezzlement in connection with Bankia’s collapse and bailout by the Spanish government.
We can’t help but wonder who will make Finkelstein’s list for 2013. A candidate, according to the latest news on her performance, is Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo. First, she seems to have the annoying habit of always being late. And just a few days back she had the misfortunate of being caught on an open microphone saying that she hates Yahoo’s institutional music. This is all without mention of the challenges she will face as the new CEO: Yahoo traffic, from sources such as e-mail and search, is rapidly declining.
Who was your pick for the worst CEO?